Art in the workplace


In this day and age, when one walks into a big company be it a bank or any recognised organisation you are greeted by a painting or a sculpture at the reception. Undoubtedly this draws one’s attention as it seems to stand out of the rest.

In addition, it creates a relaxing feeling, it is also one of the most fascinating things to add on to a workplace and can have a tremendous impact on the employer and the employee.

The impact of art in the workplace is often underestimated. Higginbottom (2016) states that adding splashes of colour to your work environment can reflect a different kind of mood.

It can provide a talking point in a bland corporate space encouraging work productivity and can help businesses address key challenges such as reducing stress enhanced creativity.

Studies have shown that the approach of employees towards art in the workplace can have an effect on them, the clients they are associated with and also the company image.

Benedict and Roger (2006) states “Renting or buying art through responsible consultancies ensures that emerging artists are paid fairly for their work, making companies into Patrons of the Arts”.

This implies that the project benefits both the art industry and the business industry in the sense that artists get proper recognition at the same time companies get art collections that match the company’s strategic mission.

Usually the decision to place art in the workplace is for decorative purposes and not a component of the design and construction process of the organisation.

Livingstone states that a well curated art collection for a workspace can reflect a company’s history at the same time projecting a certain character, style and enthusiasm to workers, clients, partners and expectations.

Displaying art at a work place is not only beneficial to a company, it also promotes artists in their field of work. Mullarkey (2011) states that organisations who purchase artworks for their workplaces have an extraordinary impact in shaping the benchmarks of artistic quality.

Their choice of art helps the general audience connect with fellow artists and help to confer cultural legitimacy on specific artists. Artworks that are purchased by any organisation create employment and can uplift artists to be able to start their own art business.

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) has since taken upon this opportunity to have an art at work project since 2015.

The project is aimed towards artists as a way of promoting their works and also help them stand on their feet.

The project targets international organisations, non-profit organisations (NGOs) and Government institutions and helps create employment.

Over the years different Zimbabwean artists have been initiated to be part of the project so as to promote the country’s own local artists.

This would also create firm business connections as art is marketed to other fields of work. The project has proven to be a success and this has influenced the National Gallery of Zimbabwe to proceed with the art at work to other bigger organisations.

Art at a work place can be seen as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) and this can be taken deliberately as another form of business.

Purchasing an original artwork by local artists can ensure that CRS is taken to another level. It creates a good image for the artist and can influence clients to also accommodate art into their artwork.

Companies should be able to experience the work of new artists on a regular basis as well as purchasing inspiring artwork for themselves.

Companies that fully appreciate the benefits of displaying paintings, prints, photographs or sculpture in their offices have given themselves a compelling advantage over their competitors.

In receptions, boardrooms and every other area of the workplace, a carefully selected piece of art can send a message to viewers and reinforce brand values.

Paintings or photographs which show different aspects of the world can serve to demonstrate a company’s global reach, at the same time displaying the work of local artists can show that a company supports and embraces the community in which it operates.

Little Van Gogh (2015) states “investing in art shows your team that you value them as people rather than ‘human resources’, and that you’re keen to improve your employee’s lives in a wholesome way.”


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